Friday, January 20, 2012

Kansas gets awful tobacco control grade; Missouri is worse

Both sides of the state line are not good when it comes to lighting up.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Missouri didnt get any love from the American Lung Association.
  • Missouri didn't get any love from the American Lung Association.
The American Lung Association released its state-by-state tobacco control grades Thursday, and Kansas earned an F. But there's good news for Kansans: Missouri was pasted with an even worse F, joining only five other states that received an F in each of the four grading areas.

Kansas got an F for tobacco prevention control and spending and cessation, a D for its 79-cent cigarette tax and an A for smoke-free air (restrictions on where smoking is allowed). It earned props for the association for banning smoking in almost all public spaces. Missouri, however, was taken out to the woodshed. In addition to getting F's across the board, Missouri was dinged with two "thumbs down" scoldings for sucking particularly hard at controlling tobacco. "Thumbs down for Missouri for spending little state money on tobacco control programs despite smoking costing the state over $4.7 billion in economic costs every year," the Lung Association wrote. It also griped about the state having the lowest cigarette tax — 17 whole cents — in the country.

But both states shouldn't beat themselves up too badly. Thirty-two states and Washington, D.C., received an F. Could this news change legislators' plans to not even consider raising the cigarette tax during the current legislative session? Nah, probably not. But it might bolster the American Cancer Society's drive to get voters to approve a 3.65-cent increase. They're hoping to get a referendum on the November ballot.

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